The Webcor Builders Women's Professional Cycling Team set the pace at the first round of the USA Women's Prestige Cycling Series: the PoolGel Redlands Bicycle Classic. The Webcor Builders women took the lead in the individual, best young rider and team competitions. The only competition to elude their grasp was the chase for the sprinter's jersey, which was claimed by Ina Teutenberg of T-Mobile.
Christine Thorburn (Webcor Builders) emerged as the series leader after a hard-fought battle with Annette Beutler (Quark). Thorburn held a tenuous lead over Kimberly Baldwin (T-Mobile, 6 seconds) and Beutler (7 seconds) going into the final stage. Beutler managed to pull back four of the seven seconds by finishing second in the stage, but couldn't quite get rid of Thorburn.
Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) claimed the lead in the Best Young Rider competition, with an impressive fourth overall when she finished with Thorburn and Beutler on the tough Sunset Road Race. Willock's teammate Stefanie Graeter took the second Best Young Rider spot for the Series by finishing 29th overall.
Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile) answered any lingering doubts about her comeback from her 2004 surgery when she claimed the PoolGel Redlands Classic's 1st Centennial Bank sprinters' jersey, and took the lead in the Women's Prestige Series Sprinters' competition. Teutenberg came from five points back after the Sun Oak Glen Road Race to eke out a narrow win over the Quark duo of Laura Van Gilder and Helen Kelly (21 vs. 20 and 18 points) in the Beaver Medical Group Downtown Criterium.
Finally, Webcor Builders took a commanding lead in the Team competition, with Quark and T-Mobile in a virtual dead heat for second. Webcor placed three riders in the top ten and earned 121 bonus points thanks to an outstanding performance by Young Rider Erinne Willock. Their team performance was reminiscent of Equipe Rona, which dominated last year's team competition in similar fashion.
The Series continues at the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 8 - 12), followed by the Tour de Toona / International (July 25 - 31) and the Bermuda Grand Prix (September 22 - 25).
Women's Prestige Series standings after round 1
More information: www.womencyclists.com